In what’s really a very short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, Tesla has grown from a plucky Californian startup to not only the world’s most influential electric vehicle manufacturer, but also one of the world’s biggest car brands.
While it was the large Model S sedan that was responsible for Tesla’s breakthrough into the mainstream, it’s been its smaller, more affordable Model 3 sedan that’s really been Tesla’s big winner. Let’s break it down: the Model 3 is the best-selling EV of all time, the first electric car to pass the 1 million global sales milestone, and was the world’s top selling EV for three years running from 2018 to 2020 (until China’s Wuling Hongguang Mini unseated it unceremoniously earlier this year). It’s not only the best-selling EV in dozens of markets across the globe, but the best-selling car full stop.
It’s impressive that it’s been able to pull that off even in countries with well-established domestic car makers, such as South Korea, the UK or its home market, the US. One place you’d never expect Tesla to succeed, however is Germany, one of the world’s most dominant automotive nations and a leading EV manufacturer.
But in what’s sure to be a painful awakening for Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz – Germany’s three big premium car brands – recent sales data has revealed that the Tesla Model 3 outsold all of their midsize, combustion engined offerings combined in Germany last month. Ouch.
Collectively, the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes C/CLA-Class (and all of their different variants, such as the S4, M3 or AMG C 43) only totalled 6,100 sales in Germany last month, compared to the Model 3’s 6,800 sales, German publication WirtschaftsWoche explains. This is impressive when you consider that a base Model 3 is more expensive than a base model A4, 3 Series or C/CLA-Class (although it’s also worth pointing out that the Model 3 also trumps all of them when it comes to performance).
Of course, the Model 3 is a fundamentally very different vehicle to those three Teutonic sedans, and as CleanTechnica relates in their analysis of the sales data, “true Volkswagen supporters… will point out that Volkswagen Group sells a lot more electric models and is far in the lead as an automotive group in [EV] sales.” Still, it’s testament to Tesla that they can record such robust sales figures in a market as competitive and tough to penetrate as Germany.
What should be even further cause for concern for BMW, Daimler-Benz and the Volkswagen Group is that Tesla’s doing these numbers and they haven’t even opened their factory yet. Current Model 3s and other Teslas sold in Germany (and the rest of Europe) are imported from the US or China, but Tesla is in the final stages of approval for a huge new factory on the outskirts of Berlin, which if approved, could produce as many as 500,000 vehicles a year, Wall Street Journal reports.
It also might solve what’s traditionally been the biggest sticking point for European customers about Tesla’s vehicles – their fit and finish. Tesla’s US-made vehicles have long been criticised for their inconsistent build quality (although it’s worth pointing out that Chinese-made Teslas don’t have the same problem). The thought of a Tesla with German build quality is unbelievably tantalising and is a concept that really just sells itself.
Watch the Tesla Model S Plaid, Tesla’s highest-performance model and the fastest car in the world, launch From 0-60mph In 1.85sec below.
This Tesla news comes at the same time that Porsche, one of Germany’s top performance car makers and part of the Volkswagen Group alongside Audi, has recorded that sales of its new all-electric Taycan have outstripped those of its famous 911 in the United States – and, rather entertainingly, is even rivalling sales of Tesla’s Model S.
So while Tesla’s bringing it to the Germans, they’re returning fire in America at the same time. Who knew the EV revolution was ever going to be this entertaining?